As I started reading Matthew 8 this morning I remembered this is one of my favorite chapters because it stumps me. It also encourages me and in doing some additional reading today, it also reminded me how I ought to pray, but really don’t want to. I had spent a little bit of time Bible journaling in Matthew 8 a while ago and a different verse had stood out to me. It’s amazing how God illuminates the right word for us at the right time.
POWERful Bible Journaling: Matthew 8
P –Lord, just show me what You need me to see.
O –In this chapter Jesus goes from being astonished at the faith of the Centurion to chastizing the men in the boat for not having enough faith.
W —vs 2…And behold a leper came and adored him, saying: Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
E –I want to be able to say to Jesus as the leper, “If thou wilt.” That’s a scary thought.
R –Lord I believe, help my unbelief.
I love the reading The Great Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide. Of course, there are some parts that are way over my head but they give me something very meaty to chew on. And there are parts that are so simple when I read them the light bulbs start going off. Today something so simple stood out to me after reading his commentary that I wondered why I never realized it before.
When the leper came to Jesus he began his petition for healing by saying “…if you will…”
“…the words, if Thou wilt, denote the desire of being healed, mingled with resignation. For he resigns himself to the will of Christ, that if He wishes it, he may be cured; if He be unwilling, he may remain unhealed.”
The Great Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide
For he resigns himself to the will of Christ.
You know what I thought after reading that? I’m kind of a prayer bully with Christ. Very rarely do I include anything about it being His will…except when I saw the Lord’s Prayer and get to the part, “…Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done…” And then I just gloss over not really asking God if this is His will.
No, when I pray I have a laundry list of please and thank you’s, not if you will. That’s too hard of a prayer and frankly I just don’t want to leave things up to chance–I mean Jesus. If my friend is sick, I want my friend healed. Period. And do you think God laughs at my presumptive and limited prayers? He may, but He also enlightens as any good Father, like he did with me today.
Because the image just came to me, offering up those types of bully prayers is like looking through an old keyhole. Remember those. At my grandparents house, the bedroom doors are old and have honest to goodness key holes. When I was little I would try to look through them to see what I could see–of course opening the door would have been more effective, but not as much fun.
Thinking about my grandparents house now as an adult, if I were to look through the keyhole I’m thinking of, I would see maybe part of a window and an old canned food box with some quilting material piled in it. A pretty limited view huh?
If I were to open the door, I would see two windows that overlook a couple of acres. I would see beautiful quilting material in any and all colors imaginable. I would see an expensive sewing machine and pieces of, if not full quilts handmade by my grandparents.
In my prayers, when I leave out the part of asking God for His will, I’m looking through a small keyhole. I have a very limited view that I’m basing my prayers on. If God were to answer those prayers as is, my limited view prayers would result in limited view answers to prayer.
Wow. This was a fruitful morning of POWERful reflection for me. That’s why I write here because sometimes, lots of time, I need to see my words to flesh out the ideas. I’m reading this fantastic book right now, Pray, Write, Grow: Cultivating Prayer and Writing Together. Here is a beaautiful quote from the book, “…the practice of writing requires observation and processing that enables writers to see the truth with greater clarity.” So true! While writing out my Bible journaling reflection the whole “keyhole” image came to my mind. I was able to clarify in my thoughts and words why this verse containing the words, “…if Thou wilt…” jumped off the page at me this morning.
Has using the POWERful Bible journaling method been helpful to you so far? Have you had any “keyhole” moments during your Bible study time?
Please share your POWERful reflections in the comments.